Preliminary results for the 52 weeks ending 28 March 2020.

Group revenue up +2.8%; Q4 Group revenue up +3.6%. UK revenue up +4.3%; Q4 UK revenue up +7.3%. Trading profit increased +3.2% to £132.6m after increased marketing investment
June 24, 2020

Financial headlines

  • Group revenue up +2.8%; Q4 Group revenue up +3.6%
  • UK revenue up +4.3%; Q4 UK revenue up +7.3%
  • Trading profit increased +3.2% to £132.6m after increased marketing investment
  • Adjusted profit before tax up +6.0% to £93.3m; adjusted earnings per share7 up +5.4% to 8.9p
  • Statutory profit before tax £53.6m; profit after tax £46.5m, both reversing prior year losses
  • Net debt reduced by £61.8m on pre-IFRS 16 basis to £408.1m
  • Net debt/EBITDA3,11 2.7x – comfortably beating March 2020 target of 3.0x
  • Combined pensions surplus £1,230.4m (30 March 2019: £373.1m)

Strategic & operational headlines

  • Strategic review concluded with landmark pensions agreement; legal documentation now agreed and signed
  • 11 consecutive quarters of UK revenue growth fuelled by successful innovation strategy
  • Significantly increased consumer marketing investment in FY19/20; further increase planned in FY20/21
  • Innovation rate increased 70bps to highest level of 6.5% of branded sales
  • International business strategy re-set to build sustainable profitable growth
  • Repayment of £80m callable at par Floating rate notes in FY20/21 Q1, reducing interest costs by over £4m p.a.

Alex Whitehouse, Chief Executive Officer: “This has been a period of considerable progress for the Company. We recently concluded our strategic review with a landmark pensions agreement which has the potential to significantly reduce future funding requirements for the Group. This year we delivered Trading profit at the top end of market expectations, reduced our Net debt by £62m, and in so doing lowered our Net debt/EBITDA ratio to 2.7x, beating our previous 3.0x target. In the UK, our brands grew ahead of their categories, and our UK business has now delivered 11 consecutive quarters of revenue growth.”

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